LUCKNOW: In a return gesture, the Congress party has decided to leave seven seats for SP-BSP-RLD alliance bigwigs in Uttar Pradesh. This was announced by UPCC chief Raj Babbar at a press conference here on Sunday.
The move is seen as the reciprocation of the favour done by SP and BSP when the left two seats of Gandhi bastion—Amethi and Rae Bareli – for the Congress while sharing the rest among themselves.
The seats which Congress will not contest in UP include --- Kannuaj, Manipuri, Firozabad –- three of SP quota where members of Yadav clan will contest.
Congress will also leave whichever seat BSP chief Mayawati may contest from and also two – Muzaffarnagar and Baghpat -- for RLD chief Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhury.
The seventh seat would be announced later. It is likely to be the one from where Akhilesh would announce his own candidature.
At the press conference, UPCC chief said: “We have decided to leave seven seats for SP, BSP and RLD. These include Mainpuri, Kannauj, Firozabad and whichever seats Mayawati ji and RLD’s Jayant ji and Ajit Singh contest from. We will also give two seats to Apna Dal - Gonda & Pilibhit.”
While in Mainpuri, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav will be testing the poll waters, Dimple will fight from Kannauj and Akhilesh’s cousin Akshay Yadav will contest from Firozabad. Notably, rebel SP leader Shivpal has announced his candidature against Akshay from Firozabad.
On the other, as per the highly placed sources in BSP, party chief Mayawati, who was expected to contest from Nagina reserved seat in western UP, is believed to have opted out of the electoral race.
Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in all seven phases starting April 11 and ending on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
Raj Babbar also announced that Congress had reached an understanding with Jan Adhikar Party (JAP). "Out of those seven, the JAP will fight on five and we will fight on two,” Babbar said.
As per the seat sharing arrangement, the lesser know JPA will contest from five seats, including Jhansi, Chandauli,
Etah and Basti, on its symbol. On remaining two seats, one being Ghazipur, the JAP candidate will contest on Congress symbol. “The details of remaining two seats under the arrangement will be announced later,” said Babbar.
JAP was founded by Babu Singh Kushwaha, a former BSP minister and once a close aide of Mayawati. On April 7, 2011, he was forced to resign after being implicated in the murder of two chief medical officers. Multi-crore NRHM scam-tainted Kushwaha was expelled from the BSP same year.
Responding to a query on Mahan Dal, Babbar said that discussions were held with the ally. He claimed that all Mahan Dal wanted was to contest the Vidhan Sabha elections full throttle. “For the Lok
Sabha elections, they had said they would contest on our symbol. We’ll find out a way to work with them,” Babbar said.
So far Congress has taken lead over other political parties by releasing four lists announcing 35 Lok Sabha candidates.
However, political pundits attribute Congress’s benevolence towards the SP-BSP alliance and allies to lack of leaders of stature who could hold the party’s flag high in UP.